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One New Thing
Friday, July 30, 2004
 
One New Thing: Making a Gform.

I don’t know why it’s called “gform”, but I do know now how to make a gform for a website. It’s basically just a regular form, but it has it’s own syntax for submission, and is an easy way to get form data delivered to an email address, or into a text file, if you have the right permissions.

Friday link: Well, you might have seen about the place that today is System Administrator Appreciation Day! So feel free to hug your sysadmin should you happen to pass them in the corridors – or know where they sit. ;) I work with some great sysadmin-type people: and I would like to urge you that if you choose to give them Nerf weaponry as this webpage suggests, beware!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004
 
One New Thing: The past and future of chat.

Steve Coffman has produced an interesting article for Information Today called To Chat Or Not to Chat — Taking Another Look at Virtual Reference, Part 1. What I found stuck out the most for me was how many online fee-based question-and-answer services have come and then gone so quickly. Library online answer services are growing, but many don't have impressive usage numbers to back them up.

Considering how easy it seems to be for people to integrate instant messaging into their online lives, this is a bit disappointing, but I have to say I’m not sure I would choose chat as my preferred method of contacting a library in the first instance – for a quick query it’s quicker to phone, for a long one I’d write a long email and give the other person plenty of time to read it. I would use chat as the point-of-need option, I think: looking at the library’s website and trying to work out how to use a database, maybe. I’d be interested to hear if other librarians feel they would use chat themselves as a way of contacting a library?

Monday, July 26, 2004
 
One New Thing: What not to kill in the Task Manager

One of the things you have to do sometimes if you are removing a virus or worm or spyware program from your PC is kill the process in the Task Manager. I’ve always looked at the list of weird process names and wondered just what all that stuff is and how you knew if it was supposed to be there or not. Turns out Microsoft has a list of system processes (this is for a Win 2000 PC). Another great list is the Windows XP Strange Service Information which even tells you what some of the other process you might see are all about.

What’s most interesting is the Idle process. It’s a process that runs when no other program is using your CPU resources: so if one program is using 5% of your CPU, Idle will be using the other 95%. (If you do a quick web search, you’ll be amazed at how many people ask about how to kill this supposed resource hog of a program!)

On an administrative note, I’m going to try and get this blog back to some regularity and post at least on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I am learning heaps of stuff in my new role at work on the days I’m not blogging, but you just wouldn’t be interested, trust me! :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
 
One New Thing: Working with Favorites

I thought that if I wanted to replace the Favorites folder on the new PC with my own without deleting it I could cut and paste the existing folder to elsewhere, then put my Favorites folder in the location the old one was in, and that would work.

Nope!

It seems that Windows keeps a pretty close eye on that folder, and if you move it, it finds it again. You can copy your links into it and delete what’s there, you just can’t do it by replacing the whole folder.

I’ll be using File-Import and Export like it wants me to in future. :)


Wednesday, July 14, 2004
 
One New Thing: How to remove programs that don’t want to be removed.

I’m sure Yahoo! Companion is a great tool for some, but I’ve acquired it via the inherited PC and would like to remove it…however, it would seem that it doesn’t want to leave! Add / Remove Programs is the obvious way but it won’t go from there, so I’ve been looking for other ways to get rid of programs that don’t appear in that list. Microsoft suggests Yahoo! Companion has to be switched off from inside the Companion, so that will be my first step. Other options for various programs seem to be to look in the program folder where the program is installed for an uninstall file to run (off the Start menu, or just in Windows Explorer), or (I imagine in more extreme cases) to manually edit the Registry. There are programs you can use to uninstall and clean up the computer too – far too many for me to mention!

I won’t be posting again until mid next week sometime – hey, if anyone finds a great link for Friday, feel free to post it in the comments so no one misses out by my absence! :)

Monday, July 12, 2004
 
One New Thing: Quirky printer behaviour.

I’m absolutely positive the new (to me) PC that I was using today was refusing to print because a job that had been sent from it several weeks ago was paused in the queue above mine.

Now that just seems like overkill..!

Saturday, July 10, 2004
 
One New Thing: Refresher on Cutter numbers.

Having had this mentioned to me today and realising that although I could definitely point to a Cutter number and tell you what it was for, I wasn’t entirely sure how they were created. Thanks to this link from the ODLIS entry on Cutter tables, which was an example of a Library of Congress Cutter Table. I’ve established that you take the author’s surname and encode the letters of it using the rules outlined in the Cutter tables, so you end up with an alphanumeric call number. The Cutter-Sanborn version is an updated version of Cutter tables: updated, not surprisingly, by Sanborn. :)

A Friday link now – although I think it will be Saturday by the time I publish this! The Curmudgeony Librarian has this fantastic list of responses you can give to those who say You're a librarian?! Since I’ll be away from the ref desk for the next few months now might be a pertinent time for me to print this off and stick it at my new desk. ;)

Wednesday, July 07, 2004
 
One New Thing: A thought about tattletaping procedures.

Searching about to try and get an idea of the best way to apply a tattletape (or any similar protection) to an item I put together and bound (you know plastic coil, clear plastic cover, cardboard backing) I noticed there are lots of universities, in particular, that publicise their tattletaping procedures clearly on their websites, for staff use presumably.

Wouldn’t that be a good way to let unscrupulous patrons know where the tattle is, how it is attached, or in fact which items are not tattletaped as a matter of course, and could just be walked out of a library? I know we discuss tattletaping and other means of collection security on mailing lists with public archives, amongst other places…I’m just concerned about the specifics such as “don’t tattletape items from the ______collection of this library”.

And I didn’t find any ideas on how (where) other people apply tape to things that are bound, after all!

Monday, July 05, 2004
 
One New Thing: How to catch mould or mildew on books.

I had the early stages of mould on a book shown to me today, and I never would have picked that’s what it was, it was so faint – I wish I could show you what I mean, but I can’t find anything like it online to link to! It looked like a mild white discolouring of the fabric-bound book cover, not the black spots I would have been looking for if I was hunting mould.

What I have learnt about book mould and mildew is firstly and most importantly how to prevent it, as outlined by Mould, Mildew and Library Books from the NLA. In my quest to find photos and also find more about what kinds of mould grow on books I found Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of mould-damaged archival and library material. This discusses how airborne spores will settle in books under the right conditions, and goes into the sorts of treatments can be employed to repair damaged material. It’s amazing to realise that something as innocuous as a potted plant in a book storage area could cause major damage to a collection.

Friday, July 02, 2004
 
An Announcement

For the next few months, I am taking up a new position in my workplace. I mention it because at this stage I can’t be sure how it will affect my opportunities to find things to write for this blog, for two reasons: one, I will be working with systems very specific to the organisation I work for; and two, I’m not working in the capacity of a librarian.

So firstly, my apologies, but I may no longer update the blog daily as I have attempted to do until now. But there will still be updates!! (Particularly as since I am spending six months out of libraries I will want to make sure that I am keeping up!)

It is still Friday though, so I have found a Friday link. I ran across this on del.icio.us today. It’s an article called Ghosts in the Machines which discusses what happens to the online profiles and other information of people, in this case young people, who die. Not exactly a cheerful topic to think about, but certainly thought-provoking.

Thursday, July 01, 2004
 
One New Thing: Teaching Citations.

Reading a citation is second nature to me now (well usually) so it’s easy to forget they still look like gibberish to people unfamiliar with them. Hunting around for a good tutorial to show people how to read a citation, I came across Citation Style for Research Papers from Long Island University. I like it firstly because of the colour coding, and second because there are a few referencing styles to look at and a good number of examples for each style. No conference proceedings examples though…these confuse pretty much everybody it seems!